Cavendish and Sagan ramp up for the Tour in Switzerland

Jun 17, 2014
Category: Races  Tour de France 

Two of the Amgen Tour of California’s biggest stars, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) continue their march toward next month’s Tour de France by competing this week at the 9-day Tour de Suisse, the final tune-up race ahead of the July 5th Grand Depart in Leeds. Four of the nine stages are already in the books with each man snatching a stage victory.

Sagan, the five-time winner of the sprint points competition in the Golden State and collector of the most California stage wins (eleven), won Monday’s 203-km Stage 3, which concluded on a 3-km climb in Heiden, Switzerland.

“It went very well today. The route went over rolling terrain and the bends on the final stretch suited me. It will be very hard for me tomorrow against the all-out sprinters, but I always try to win,” said Sagan, who will ride for his third consecutive sprint points title at the Tour de France.

The Slovak was correct about his chances in Tuesday’s 160-km Stage 4, which was tailor-made for the pure sprinters like 29-year-old Cav, who sagely timed his sprint to perfection getting the better of Sagan, who finished 3rd in Ossingen. "It was a headwind finish and very chaotic in the peloton," said Cavendish about his ninth victory of the season. "A lot of teams were trying to get it right. My team worked really hard to chase down the breakaway and stay in the front the entire day to protect me. They were really committed. Then I followed Mark Renshaw in the final and Mark was incredible. He led me through the peloton and put me in the position to lead it out. It was a headwind and uphill finish so it was really about timing your sprint perfectly. I knew I had to go between 200 meters and 150 meters to go. So I waited, and even though the others jumped before, I still went at the right time. I was able to hold on until the finish. My main competitors of the Tour de France aren't here with the exception of Sagan, who will go for the green jersey, but maybe isn't a pure sprinter. But still, a win like this gives me confidence. I also have to thank my teammates today for taking care of me and then guiding me to the front at the right moment in the end. I'm proud of the guys and am happy to finish off their effort. We also kept the jersey with (Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s) Tony (Martin) so it’s a perfect day for the team.”

Martin wears the race leader’s jersey and Sagan sits in 3rd on the General Classification, ten seconds in arrears of the UCI World Time Trial Champion. The Tour de Suisse concludes Sunday (June 22).